Business Wire

XPRIZE and All Nippon Airways (ANA) Announce New $10 Million XPRIZE Competition to Develop Real-Life Avatars


Today, at the South By Southwest® (SXSW®) conference in Austin, XPRIZE Founder and Executive Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, in partnership with ANA, will announce the launch of the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, a four-year global competition to develop real-life avatars. With registration opening today, teams around the world are challenged to accelerate the development of a multi-purpose avatar system that will enable us to remotely see, hear, touch and interact with physical environments and other people through an integrated robotic device.

“Our ability to physically experience another geographic location, or to provide on-the-ground assistance where needed, is limited by cost and the simple availability of time,” said Diamandis. “The ANA Avatar XPRIZE can enable creation of an audacious alternative that could bypass these limitations allowing us to more rapidly and efficiently distribute skill and hands-on expertise to distant geographic locations where they are needed, bridging the gap between distance, time and cultures.”

Sponsored by ANA, Japan’s only 5-star airline, the winning team of the ANA Avatar XPRIZE will combine state-of-the-art technologies to demonstrate a robotic avatar that allows an untrained operator to complete a diverse series of tasks, from simple to complex, in a physical environment at least 100km away. Avatars must demonstrate the ability to execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios. In the future, avatar applications could help provide critical care and deploy immediate emergency response in natural disaster scenarios, stretching the boundaries of what is possible, and maximizing the impact of skill and knowledge-sharing.

“As the sole provider of global long-distance physical transportation, the airline industry has long served as the catalyst for global relationships, business, diplomacy, and mutual understanding,” said Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA HOLDINGS INC. “However, our ability to provide this service throughout the world is limited by physical infrastructure and current technology. By launching the ANA Avatar XPRIZE, ANA hopes to break through the remaining barriers that exist to bring about an unprecedented era of physical connection, resource sharing, and collaboration for a brighter future for all.”

The deadline for teams to register through the XPRIZE website is October 31, 2018. Teams must submit a complete competition plan to an independent panel of expert judges by January 31, 2019.

Two milestone competitions will take place in April 2020 and April 2021, respectively, during which all teams will compete for a $1M prize purse each year. The $8M grand prize will be awarded in October 2021. In a first for XPRIZE, any team who believes they have achieved the competition goals may call for the finals to be held early. The five-day finals will include performance tests based on specific tasks that showcase the application of avatar technologies across several use case scenarios.

The ANA Avatar XPRIZE originated from XPRIZE's six-month concept incubator program, called Visioneers, in 2016, led by scientist Dr.2 Harry Kloor (Ph.D., Ph.D.), where the ANA Visioneers team first proposed the avatar concept. This concept received top honors at the Visioneers Summit finale and was qualified as "ready for launch" by a group of 250 mentors including prominent corporate and political leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, technologists and scientists.

For more information, and to register your intent to compete, visit


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowdsourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances—igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE, and the $1M Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit


Following the "Inspiration of Japan" high quality of service, ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating from SKYTRAX for 5 consecutive years starting in 2013. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as "Airline of the Year" three times in the past 10 years - 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times.

ANA was founded in 1952 with two helicopters and has become the largest airline in Japan, as well as one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 85 international routes and 116 domestic routes. ANA offers a unique dual hub model which enables passengers to travel to Tokyo and connect through the two airports in the metropolitan Tokyo, NARITA and HANEDA, to various destinations throughout Japan, and also offers same day connections between various North American, Asian and Chinese cities.

ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint venture partnerships with United Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

Besides the full service and award winner carrier ANA, the ANA Group has two LCCs as consolidated subsidiaries, Vanilla Air Inc. and Peach Aviation Limited. The ANA Group carried 52.1 million passengers in FY2016, has approximately 39,000 employees and a fleet of 260 aircraft. ANA is the proud launch customer and biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Contact information

XPRIZE Media Contact:
Katherine Schelbert, 424.835.3127
ANA Media Contact:
Alan Goss, 512.432.1934

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